Film Screening: Enemies of the People: A Personal Journey into the Heart of the Killing Fields

Film Screening: Enemies of the People: A Personal Journey into the Heart of the Killing Fields

Cambodia film and discussion with Writer/Producer Rob Lemkin

Wednesday, October 20, 2010
7:00 PM - 9:30 PM
James Bridges Theater
Melnitz Hall
UCLA Campus
Los Angeles, CA 90095


A film by Rob Lemkin & Thet Sambath • UK/Cambodia • 2010 • 94 mins • English and Cambodian w/English subtitles

A Q&A with filmmaker Rob Lemkin will follow the screening.

The Khmer Rouge ran what is regarded as one of the twentieth century’s most brutal regimes. In "Enemies of the People", winner of the 2010 Sundance World Cinema Special Jury Prize for Documentary, the men and women who perpetrated the massacres – from the foot-soldiers who slit throats to the party’s ideological leader, Nuon Chea aka Brother Number Two – break a 30-year silence to give testimony never before heard or seen.

Unprecedented access from top to bottom of the Khmer Rouge has been achieved through a decade of work by one of Cambodia’s top investigative journalists, Thet Sambath. Sambath is on a personal quest: he lost his own family in the Killing Fields. The film is his journey to discover why they died. In doing so, he hears and understands for the first time the real story of his country’s tragedy.

After years of visits and trust-building, Sambath finally persuades Brother Number Two to admit for the first time in detail how he and Pol Pot set out to kill party members whom they considered ‘Enemies of the People’. But Sambath’s remarkable work goes one stage further: over the years he befriends a network of killers in the provinces who implemented the kill policy. For the first time, we see how orders created on an abstract political level translate into murder in the rice fields and forests of the Cambodian plain. Sambath’s work is a watershed both in Cambodian historiography and in the country’s quest for closure on one of the world’s darkest episodes.

Film website:

Cost : Free and open to the public.

Barbara Gaerlan

Sponsor(s): Burkle Center for International Relations, Center for Southeast Asian Studies, UCLA International Institute, UCLA Law International Human Rights Program